Posts Tagged ‘Stefan Gregory’

It wasn’t until I saw the Young Vic’s Yerma that I appreciated the psychological trauma experienced by women yearning for a child. That’s the power of theatre for you. This covers similar ground, but as a one-women monologue, in a very different way.

It’s based on Julia Leigh’s memoir. Woman – we aren’t given a name – tries to conceive naturally with her on-off partner, but fails, and age is against her so she turns to IVF and associated techniques that include freezing sperm and harvesting and freezing eggs. You name it, she tries it, and the failure of all of these treatments result in her desperation and depression escalating. Sadly she does not become one of the eight million successful cases, but one of the millions who aren’t, emotional scars staying with them long after the last attempt.

She stands alone virtually the whole time on the vast Barbican stage surrounded by white walls. Maxine Peake’s performance is a tour de force. She invests so much emotional energy into the role she lives it. I’ve longed to see her in something good like this and she proves she is as good on stage as she is on screen. Designer Marg Howell pulls a few surprises out of her hat and there’s an atmospheric soundscape / music from Stefan Gregory. It might be one woman on a big stage, but director Anne-Louise Sarks uses it all so that she doesn’t seem lost in the space.

A powerful reminder of how nature can be cruel and how science is trying to compensate for it, without hopefully trying to replace it.

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